Automated Ships and Kongsberg Maritime Developing Unmanned Vessel for Offshore Operations

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United Kingdom-based Automated Ships and Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime have signed a memorandum of understanding to build the world’s first unmanned and fully-automated vessel for offshore operations.

At the beginning of next year, Automated Ships will contract the Hrönn, a light-duty, offshore utility ship, and Kongsberg Maritime will help deliver the tools for the design, construction and operation of the vessel.

The Hrönn is expected to carry out a variety of missions, including surveying, remotely operated vehicle and AUV launch and recovery, and light intermodal cargo delivery.

“The advantages of unmanned ships are manifold, but primarily center on the safe guarding of life and reduction in the cost of production and operations,” said Brett A. Phaneuf, managing director at Automated Ships, via Offshore Engineer Digital.

“Removing people from the hazardous environment of at-sea operations and re-employing them on-shore to monitor and operate robotic vessels remotely, along with the significantly decreased cost in constructing ships, will revolutionize the marine industry. Automated Ships Ltd. will be at the forefront of that revolution, along with its many Norwegian partners.”

The plan initially is for the Hrönn to operate mainly as a remotely piloted vessel, but it will eventually become fully autonomous. Sea trials for the vessel will be conducted at Norway’s Trondheim fjord, a new automated vessels testing place.

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